VGC construction workersHow we are tackling modern slavery

Our commitment:

We are committed to tackling labour exploitation. We were the first labour supply company in the UK to comply with the Ethical Labour Sourcing Standard (BESĀ 6002:2017).

Our action plan will be embedded in the business and will feed into our corporate objectives for each year.

What we have done already

  • Our Modern Slavery policy has been on our website since November 2015.
  • We collaborated with BRE in producing the Ethical Labour Supply standard.
  • We interview everyone who works for VGC face-to-face.
  • Our Home Office trained team carries out stringent checks on passports and visas to ensure all our people have the right to work in the UK.
  • Payments for hours worked are made directly into personal bank accounts.
  • All staff involved in recruitment have had training on spotting the signs of labour exploitation.
  • We display Stronger Together posters across our offices and sites, and share our online whistleblowing form on social media and enewsletters, to encourage everyone to report issues in confidence.

Stronger Together posterWhat we are going to do

  • Draw up new processes to monitor and alert managers to potential risks of labour exploitation
  • Further training for VGC staff on modern slavery and labour exploitation
  • Appoint labour champions across VGC
  • Improve worker engagement including multi-lingual communication channels
  • Include checks on modern slavery in our procurement processes.

Our plans

  • Key staff will attend further training run by Stronger2gether (link to pdf on Stronger2gether.org website) in identifying signs of modern slavery.
  • We will include a briefing on worker exploitation in our staff induction.
  • We will run an anonymous labour exploitation questionnaire in different languages for our whole workforce
  • We will distribute leaflets on labour exploitation in multiple languages to all staff.
  • Our approved supplier processes will include more stringent checks on the labour supply chain.
  • We will include labour exploitation and modern slaver as part of our key influencer training.
  • Our new labour database system (being implemented in autumn 2017) will allow us to run audit reports to check if there are any duplicates in bank account details, phone numbers, addresses, or next of kin details, which will flag up any potential issues.
  • We will continue to share information about modern slavery and ethical labour on our social and staff communications.

We will produce an annual review on our progress.

About the ethical labour sourcing standard

BRE developed the ethical labour sourcing (ELS) standard BES 6002 in February 2017 in response to the 2015 Modern Slavery Act.

The Global Slavery Index 2017 revealed that modern slavery and enforced labour affects 48 million people worldwide. The ELS provides third-party assurance of business practices and provides a pathway to make continuous improvements.

Organisations are assessed on:

  • organisational structure
  • management structure
  • HR
  • procurement
  • bribery and corruption
  • forums
  • management policies
  • immigration
  • supply chain management
  • learning and development
  • reporting
  • assurance and compliance.

VGC leads the labour supply sector in our approach to fairness, sustainability, diversity, and ethical business practices.

Ciara Pryce, group services director, said: “Forced labour can have no place on the UK’s construction projects. We are doing all we can to eliminate it; aspiring to ELS accreditation is testament to our commitment.”

We are fair to everyone who works for us and with us.